Uganda is located in East Africa with a population of about 33 million. At least 43 languages are spoken of which four are dominant: Luganda in the central and eastern, Runyakitara in the western and Luo in the northern regions. English was first introduced in Uganda when the Buganda kingdom was declared a British Protectorate in 1894. At the time, missionaries and the Baganda played a big part in promoting English in the country, and after World War II the colonial government further promoted the teaching and use of English. At independence in 1962, Uganda had a considerable number of English speakers. This changed during the military rule in the 1970s and 1980s when many members of the Ugandan elite, all fluent speakers of English, were either killed or driven into exile. In addition, British nationals who had been teaching English at different institutions were also expelled from the country. From then on, English was taught by Ugandans. As a result, English spoken in the younger generation differs considerably from English spoken by older Ugandans. Today, English is the official language of administration and sole medium of instruction at all education levels except in rural areas where it is used as an additional medium of instruction. It is also increasingly used in the homes in urban areas such as Kampala and it serves as a lingua franca among the Ugandan elite. As first language influence mainly comes from Luganda, Ugandan English differs from other East African varieties that are mainly influenced by Kiswahili.


Fisher, A. (2000) Assessing the state of Uganda English. English Today 61, Vol. 16: 57–60.
Ssempuuma, J. (2008) Luganda-English Code-switching among the Baganda. Unpublished MA Thesis, Bayreuth University.


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